Q&A of the Day – Tricky tactics being used by PACS in South Florida’s elections
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
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Today’s entry: This is a post card from the #browardcountysupervisorsofelections I received today. It says when DEMS VOTE BY MAIL DEMS WIN. Shouldn’t they be bipartisan??
Bottom Line: The note you received isn’t from the Broward Supervisor of Elections, it’s just cleverly crafted to make it look as though it may be. First let’s take a look at the handwritten message: Never miss an election when you vote from home. To vote by mail call: 954-357-7050 or email: Elections@BrowardSOE.org. When Broward County Dems vote by mail, Dems win! It’s safe and it’s easy...and Voting Matters! The message doesn’t say it’s from the SOE, it’s simply instructing you to get in touch with the SOE to request a ballot to vote by mail.
We’ve seen these types of 3rd party efforts to activate Democrats in South Florida previously. This type of mailer is similar to mailers you might receive from Political Action Committees in support of specific candidates or political parties. What makes it feel different is that it’s handwritten and rather than a specific message about a party or candidate – it's instructing you to obtain an absentee ballot and vote by mail. Handwritten notes naturally feel more intimate and authentic. Studies have also shown they’re more effective. Three different studies have been done in recent years comparing response rates of handwritten mail to printed materials. They were conducted by Deliver Magazine, The National Mail Order Association and RentToOwn.
All showed a significant improvement in response rates with handwritten materials. Among the findings...
- Having anything handwritten improved response rates by a minimum of 5%
- Handwritten mailers had 99% open rates
- Response rates to marketing materials improved from 1.5% to 4.5% when handwritten
With this information in hand many of the interest groups who often would call would be voters to attempt to drive turnout have opted for this approach in recent cycles. Voter registration information is public record in Florida, so interest groups are able to ID their targets and work to attempt to activate them. There also happens to be another tell in your specific correspondence. The postmark. It was postmarked in Seattle. Clearly no local office is sending mail from Seattle. If you’re in doubt with who is behind mailers, checking postmarks can be a quick tell.